‘Pehelwanji’ brings a warm glow!

My colleagues in Delhi Manisha and Mukesh recently got our book, ‘Pehelwanji’ converted into a Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) file in English and Hindi with the help of Saksham Trust. I got it done in Kannada in Bangalore.

Our Marketing Head Sampurna presented the book at a convention in Kolkota, and will surely fill us in on what happened there.
Meanwhile, I just wanted to share the warm glow bestowed on me when I was at Mitra Jyothi last week. When I told Madhu Singhal that I was in her not-for-profit organisation to get one of our books recorded so that it could be ‘read’ by visually-impaired children, she was all praise. “What a wonderful thing you’re doing! Lovely!”

Madhu, for those who don’t know, started Mitra Jyothi in 1990. She is totally blind, has a master’s degree in Hindustani music, is a voracious reader, has an amazing memory, and has over 4000 talking books in the Mitra Jyothi library.

In the DAISY conversion work, my first stop was an address in Koramangala, Enable India. I missed seeing the big-enough building that houses this NGO, but a semi-literate visually-impaired person down the road directed us to the place.

Pushpa, a receptionist at Enable India, has no sight in one eye, and reduced vision in the other. She expertly directed the auto in which we traveled from Enable India to Mitra Jyothi. Just one-and-a-half months into the job, Nandini, the young library assistant, expertly helped us with the recording and sound editing.
Shanti Raghavan, who started Enable India, introduced me to Ganesh Prasad, the DAISY representative in Bangalore, and working full time at Enable India. He took time off to help us with ‘Pehelwanji’.

Shivakumar, a technical wizard, associated with Enable India, worked on the conversion twice. He sent me the DAISY file, for the second time, at 10.30 pm …because he knew we needed it for a presentation.
And I got all the praise from Madhu while all I had done was get a lot of people to do a lot of work!

Can you See just how beautiful this world is!

And oh, I forgot, when I requested my neighbour Shobha if she could be the Kannada voice, her father-in-law encouraged her to go ahead, while he took care of the house.

That warm glow I spoke of in the beginning? Now I hope you feel it too… To check out the pilot version (meaning, it could have several glitches!) of ‘Pehelwanji’ in Kannada, please follow the directions below. Download the file: http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/132469/Final.zip Download the software from here: http://daisy.org/projects/amis/

Direct link: http://daisy.org/projects/amis/Setup-amis30-U.S.English.zip

Unzip the first file. Run it in the software. Please give feedback!



  1. Prashanth June 3, 2009

    Hello Mala,

    thats a great start. It would be interesting to know how the childrens react to it. I liked the way picture is described and then the content is read-out.

    I will be happy to volunteer for such efforts. I can read and write Kannada well.

    Thank You

  2. Mala June 3, 2009

    Thanks Prashanth! Yes, we're waiting to hear what children have to say about this.

    Please do send us a mail with your contact details.

  3. LiveLife June 3, 2009

    Great work, Mala! Good to see that Pratham is helping to publish books for the visually-impaired.

    I downloaded the software and Hema and I just heard the spoken version. Sounds good!

    Keep it up! I am also happy to see that your association with Enable India Shanti is continuing too!


  4. Prashanth June 9, 2009

    Hello Mala, could you please provide me the email address to send my contact details?


  5. Mohit Mehrotra September 8, 2009

    Hi Mala, first of all thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us! and more importantly you are doing such a great job for helping the visually impaired. I have a happy co-incidence to relate. I met Shanti Raghavan yesterday when she came an presented her work at the organization that I work with; and I was so inspired by her story that I was about to offer my time and services if she needed with Enable India. Now today I was reading your newsletter with my daughter Radhika who is a student of Sishu Griha school, and I stumble on this connection. I'm almost feeling that this cant be just a chance encounter with Shanti, and I'm even more inspired to work for her. Wish me luck. Mohit


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